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  1. #1
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    Problematic Prophesy

    For most of my life I bought into the idea that perhaps the Bible's biggest strongpoint was that of the fulfilled prophesy that could be found within its pages. As what can best be described as a New Testament Christian, until the last 5 or 6 years I really hadn't taken many deep dives into the Old Testament. I simply took for granted that the things said in the NT always jibed with what was written in the OT. When I first realized that was not always the case, my first reaction was that of rationalization, and that went on for about 5 years until the intellectually honest person in me could no longer keep up the charade. I finally was able to see the flaws and call a spade a spade despite the fact that I badly wanted to believe the Bible had no flaws.
    In this thread I wish to bring some of the prophetic problems to light in hopes of putting the truth out there as well as getting a better understanding of them by putting various studeous eyes of critical thinkers on some of them.

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    Starting with Matthew 26:31, which is supposedly a record of Jesus telling his disciples that they would be scatered due to him, their shepherd being struck is a fulfillment of a prophesy found in Zechariah. In context it reads:

    Then, as they ate, Jesus took a loaf, and after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to the disciples saying: 'Take some and eat it, because this is my body.' He also took a cup [of wine], and after giving thanks, gave it to them saying, 'All of you drink from it, 28 because this is my blood of the New Sacred Agreement, which will be poured out for many to forgive [their] sins. But I tell you that I definitely won't drink of this product of the vine anymore, until that day when I will drink it new with you in the Kingdom of my Father.'

    Finally, after singing songs of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

    [It was there that] Jesus said to them: 'All of you will be stumbled [by what will happen to] me tonight, because it's written: I will beat the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.
    After the Passover meal, Jesus and his 12 go to the Mt. of Olives and there Jesus tells them that they will be made to stumble because of him that night, because it was written in Zechariah 13:7 the following;

    'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'

    Shall we read Zechariah 13:1 -14:3 to see if the text Matthew claims Jesus appealed to actually has anything prophetic about the Messiah's last days?

    'In that Day, all [springs] will then open wide, for the rinsing and cleansing of David's house, and for those who live in JeruSalem. And in that Day it will be,' says Jehovah of Armies; 'The names of their idols I'll wipe from the land, so they'll be remembered no more. And I will remove from the land, the false prophets with their unclean spirits.
    'And if there's a man who still prophecies; his father and the mother who bore him, must tell him that he may no longer live! For, he has told lies in the Name of the Lord. Then his father and the mother who bore him, will tie him up, because he prophesied. And it will be in that Day, that their visions will bring them disgrace, as will the things that they prophesied. They'll cover their heads with animal hides, because they will know that they've lied. And they'll say, I'm not a prophet; I'm just a man who works the ground… this is all that I've done since my youth!

    'And then I will ask, So, what are these wounds in your hands?

    'And they will reply, They were struck in the homes of our loved ones.

    'O broadsword, awaken against [such] a man, and against the shepherds [who live in] My land,' says Jehovah the Almighty. 'Strike the shepherds and scatter the sheep… against the shepherds I'll bring My hand.
    'And in that Day,' says Jehovah; 'two-thirds will be wiped out and gone, but a third will still remain. Then I'll try them as [you] try gold. But, they will call on My Name. Then I will say, You're My people, and they will say, Jehovah's our God.'

    'Look; The Lord's [Great] Day now approaches, when spoils will be divided among them. To JeruSalem I'll gather all nations, and the city will be captured thereafter. All the homes will be looted, and all the women will be raped. Then half of the city will be led away, and the rest (those who are My people), will not be destroyed from the [land]. Then the Lord will attack all those nations, in His battle on the Day of the war.
    So, according to Matthew 26:31, Jesus told his disciples that they would be shaken and scattered because it was prophesied that God will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. Interesting considering the fact that according to Zechariah the shepherds (plural) that would be struck by God were lumped in as it pertains to the punishment from God, with the false prophets spoken of previously in Zechariah 13. These were people God is said to have comtempt for and were being held responsible for misleading God's chosen sheep, I mean people. How in the world is this in any way, shape, or form a prophesy foretelling the plight of the Jewish Messiah and his disciples?
    It appears that the writer of Matthew either misquoted Jesus in hopes of duping the unstudied Jews that he wrote to into believing Jesus fulfilled a prophesy about him that was not in fact about him, or Matthew's writer correctly quoted Jesus and it was Jesus that was doing the duping. Either way, it's not a good look for the Bible.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    So, according to Matthew 26:31, Jesus told his disciples that they would be shaken and scattered because it was prophesied that God will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. Interesting considering the fact that according to Zechariah the shepherds (plural) that would be struck by God were lumped in as it pertains to the punishment from God, with the false prophets spoken of previously in Zechariah 13. These were people God is said to have comtempt for and were being held responsible for misleading God's chosen sheep, I mean people. How in the world is this in any way, shape, or form a prophesy foretelling the plight of the Jewish Messiah and his disciples?
    It appears that the writer of Matthew either misquoted Jesus in hopes of duping the unstudied Jews that he wrote to into believing Jesus fulfilled a prophesy about him that was not in fact about him, or Matthew's writer correctly quoted Jesus and it was Jesus that was doing the duping. Either way, it's not a good look for the Bible.
    Hey there throwback,

    Excellent choice for a thread. These kinds of questions cut to the heart of the matter. Many folks "take it for granted" that the NT fulfilled many plain and unambiguous prophecies about the Messiah found in the OT. Some say that he fulfilled over 300! Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Scriptures applied to Christ in the NT have nothing to do with any prediction of a Messiah.

    But I am confused by the translation you have offered. The only version that uses the plural is the LXX:
    LXX Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherds, and against the man who is my citizen, saith the Lord Almighty: smite the shepherds, and draw out the sheep: and I will bring mine hand upon the little ones.
    The MT has the singular, as do all English versions I checked. So I don't see much support for this part of your case.

    Looking at the context, we see it begins with words against false prophets. But when we get to verse 7 it has God saying "my shepherd" who is his "fellow" - so it seems to shift gears there. Would God refer to a false prophet as "my shepherd"? Probably not. But then again, the act of striking the shepherd does seem to fit very well with the previous words against false prophets, so this point is a bit ambiguous.

    In any case, I see nothing in the prophecy that indicates it is talking about a future messiah who would be crucified to atone for the sins of the world. So it doesn't even count as a "prophecy" at all. It just looks like it was cherry-picked after the fact because it fit with the evolving Christian understanding of Christ. It certainly could not have been used to predict anything about the Messiah before hand.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    Starting with Matthew 26:31, which is supposedly a record of Jesus telling his disciples that they would be scatered due to him, their shepherd being struck is a fulfillment of a prophesy found in Zechariah. In context it reads:



    After the Passover meal, Jesus and his 12 go to the Mt. of Olives and there Jesus tells them that they will be made to stumble because of him that night, because it was written in Zechariah 13:7 the following;

    'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'

    Shall we read Zechariah 13:1 -14:3 to see if the text Matthew claims Jesus appealed to actually has anything prophetic about the Messiah's last days?



    So, according to Matthew 26:31, Jesus told his disciples that they would be shaken and scattered because it was prophesied that God will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. Interesting considering the fact that according to Zechariah the shepherds (plural) that would be struck by God were lumped in as it pertains to the punishment from God, with the false prophets spoken of previously in Zechariah 13. These were people God is said to have comtempt for and were being held responsible for misleading God's chosen sheep, I mean people. How in the world is this in any way, shape, or form a prophesy foretelling the plight of the Jewish Messiah and his disciples?
    It appears that the writer of Matthew either misquoted Jesus in hopes of duping the unstudied Jews that he wrote to into believing Jesus fulfilled a prophesy about him that was not in fact about him, or Matthew's writer correctly quoted Jesus and it was Jesus that was doing the duping. Either way, it's not a good look for the Bible.
    Hello throwback

    I agree with Richard that Zechariah 13 and 14 are not direct prophecies referring to the coming Messiah or anything to do with the lifetime of Jesus during his ministry. Where I would disagree with Richard is in the ending of this prophecy. There is much in these two chapters that suggest a future time long after AD70. The following verse is one such example:

    Zech 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    I do not intend to get into discussing this prophecy, but I expect it will receive comment as to when this was fulfilled if not future. If you can see that Zechariah is not referring to Christ, and the prophecy is still future, it may be one problem less for you. I look forward to knowing what your next problem scripture is.

    All the best,

    David

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Hello throwback

    I agree with Richard that Zechariah 13 and 14 are not direct prophecies referring to the coming Messiah or anything to do with the lifetime of Jesus during his ministry. Where I would disagree with Richard is in the ending of this prophecy. There is much in these two chapters that suggest a future time long after AD70. The following verse is one such example:

    Zech 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    I do not intend to get into discussing this prophecy, but I expect it will receive comment as to when this was fulfilled if not future. If you can see that Zechariah is not referring to Christ, and the prophecy is still future, it may be one problem less for you. I look forward to knowing what your next problem scripture is.

    All the best,

    David
    If they were not "direct prophecies of the Messiah" then why did Jesus claim they spoke of him? The futurist habit of shredding Scripture into bits and pieces that are "fulfilled" in events separated by thousands of years makes a mockery of any claim of "prophecy." Such confetti could be arranged in any pattern that happened to enter your mind - or that you found "useful" for your eschatological speculations.

    And another point: the same passage speaks of animal sacrifices. So either you are not interpreting that passage literally, or you are assuming that there will be animal sacrifices in the future commanded by God. Most Christians would consider that blasphemous in light of Christ as the final sacrifice to which all the OT sacrifices pointed as type, such as the Passover Lamb.

    Your entire paradigm is based on the fundamental error of failing to understand how Christ is the fulfillment of the OT types.

    Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

    Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

    According to Christianity, Christ is the True Temple, the True Priest, and the True Temple. Your paradigm denies these fundamental teachings.

    But we don't need to debate that here. There are bigger fish to fry.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hey there throwback,

    Excellent choice for a thread. These kinds of questions cut to the heart of the matter. Many folks "take it for granted" that the NT fulfilled many plain and unambiguous prophecies about the Messiah found in the OT. Some say that he fulfilled over 300! Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Scriptures applied to Christ in the NT have nothing to do with any prediction of a Messiah.

    But I am confused by the translation you have offered. The only version that uses the plural is the LXX:
    LXX Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherds, and against the man who is my citizen, saith the Lord Almighty: smite the shepherds, and draw out the sheep: and I will bring mine hand upon the little ones.
    The MT has the singular, as do all English versions I checked. So I don't see much support for this part of your case.

    Looking at the context, we see it begins with words against false prophets. But when we get to verse 7 it has God saying "my shepherd" who is his "fellow" - so it seems to shift gears there. Would God refer to a false prophet as "my shepherd"? Probably not. But then again, the act of striking the shepherd does seem to fit very well with the previous words against false prophets, so this point is a bit ambiguous.

    In any case, I see nothing in the prophecy that indicates it is talking about a future messiah who would be crucified to atone for the sins of the world. So it doesn't even count as a "prophecy" at all. It just looks like it was cherry-picked after the fact because it fit with the evolving Christian understanding of Christ. It certainly could not have been used to predict anything about the Messiah before hand.
    I think the false prophets may have a connection to Deut 18 and that no one after Christ would be that prophet [Acts 3:22-24] We had a thread about this.

    The context of Zech seems 70 AD ish as much as 30 AD ish.

    Could Jesus have been applying the singular [shepherd] to himself as the example of the future [shepherds/apostles]?

    Jesus set the pattern with his individual death and subsequent resurrection [spirit-body] and the confirmation resurrecting [proving] of the truth of his entity and power and authenticity of his words.

    The apostles [shepherds] were all told that they would need to suffer as he did [except John].

    The apostles 'won' the favor of the supernatural kingdom by their obedience to that pattern and recieved the favor of the kingdom after the persecutions of Nero. The body of Christ's teaching and the truth of his entity was openly revealed and RESURRECTED through the ending of the negative mosaic covenant. The favor and RESURRECTION was given to the followers of Peace and orgainic [and supernatural] life.

    Thus, coud Jesus in referring this section to his disciples Jesus be backwards applying that principle.

    An interesting analogy could be made with Judas and Nero as 'sons of perdition'. If Nero was the one who understood dark sentences [judgments] he understood what was prophesied about him and Rome. And yet in seeing them unfold, he did not stop them.. but refused to glorify God... and subsequently went to the same fate as Judas. Judas was the individual, Nero the corporal 'body'.

    Just theories and thoughts to consider.
    Last edited by EndtimesDeut32/70AD; 04-23-2012 at 04:07 PM.
    1Thess 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    If you are oppressed and enslaved by religious law, you may have a tendency to oppress, enslave and attempt to lord over others who are free.

  7. #7
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    Zechariah and Isaiah seems to bring about the same language of using 'my servant' and 'my shepherd' which they used to defind Jacob O Israel.(Isaiah 42:1-19, 43:1, 44:21, 45:4, 52:13-15, & 53:1-12) (Zech.13:1-7) Therefore I see a twofold in these passages one pertains to Israel and the other fold pretains to Jesus..For it was him that had the wounds in his hands.

    These are then seem a Midrash (types and anti-types)
    Last edited by Beck; 04-23-2012 at 04:04 PM.
    Beck

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndtimesDeut32/70AD View Post
    The context of Zech seems 70 AD ish as much as 30 AD ish.
    I agree. That was the position I held as Preterist. The destruction of the false prophets fits well with 70 AD. But still, it doesn't really seem like much of a "prophecy" since it is so vague.

    Quote Originally Posted by EndtimesDeut32/70AD View Post
    An interesting analogy could be made with Judas and Nero as 'sons of perdition'. If Nero was the one who understood dark sentences [judgments] he understood what was prophesied about him and Rome. And yet in seeing them unfold, he did not stop them.. but refused to glorify God... and subsequently went to the same fate as Judas. Judas was the individual, Nero the corporal 'body'.

    Just theories and thoughts to consider.
    It seems pretty speculative that Nero would have known about the book of Revelation even if it was written pre-70 AD (which seems pretty likely since it doesn't mention the destruction of the Temple).
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Zechariah and Isaiah seems to bring about the same language of using 'my servant' and 'my shepherd' which they used to defind Jacob O Israel.(Isaiah 42:1-19, 43:1, 44:21, 45:4, 52:13-15, & 53:1-12) (Zech.13:1-7) Therefore I see a twofold in these passages one pertains to Israel and the other fold pretains to Jesus..For it was him that had the wounds in his hands.

    These are then seem a Midrash (types and anti-types)
    That's the style of the entire NT. In John's Gospel, Christ is presented as the "new Moses" and Matthew 2 has Herod repeating the story of the children slain when Moses was born and applied it to Jesus as well as the OT passage "out of Egypt I have called my son," which in context applies to Israel.

    The NT presents Jesus as the new Moses, true Temple, true Priest, true Temple, etc., etc., etc. I found this to be rather compelling evidence when I was a Christian because it seemed very unlikely that the OT would "just happen" to have all the elements needed to produce the amazing story of Jesus. I thought it was particularly compelling that Melchizedek Priest of the Most High God brought forth bread and wine which so conveniently prefigured the NT priestly activity of the Eucharist established by Christ at the last supper.

    So there is a lot of "circumstantial" evidence that can seem very convincing to a mind willing to believe. But I see nothing that looks like a real "prophecy" that would convince a skeptical person, such as someone who was comparing Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism to determine which, if any, is true.

    As for the "wounds in his hands" - the text actually uses the word "beyn" meaning "between" which is why the New King James and NAS render it "What are these wounds between your arms?".
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    That's the style of the entire NT. In John's Gospel, Christ is presented as the "new Moses" and Matthew 2 has Herod repeating the story of the children slain when Moses was born and applied it to Jesus as well as the OT passage "out of Egypt I have called my son," which in context applies to Israel.

    The NT presents Jesus as the new Moses, true Temple, true Priest, true Temple, etc., etc., etc. I found this to be rather compelling evidence when I was a Christian because it seemed very unlikely that the OT would "just happen" to have all the elements needed to produce the amazing story of Jesus. I thought it was particularly compelling that Melchizedek Priest of the Most High God brought forth bread and wine which so conveniently prefigured the NT priestly activity of the Eucharist established by Christ at the last supper.

    So there is a lot of "circumstantial" evidence that can seem very convincing to a mind willing to believe. But I see nothing that looks like a real "prophecy" that would convince a skeptical person, such as someone who was comparing Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism to determine which, if any, is true.

    As for the "wounds in his hands" - the text actually uses the word "beyn" meaning "between" which is why the New King James and NAS render it "What are these wounds between your arms?".
    Yes, I didn't mean to convey that this passage of Zech was a prophesy about Jesus, but the custom of midrash. Those passages where clearly about Israel. It seemed that Jesus along with his disciples employed midrash in passages which concerned Israel and applied it to Jesus as the Messiah. [The Suffering Servant]
    Beck

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